Lawmakers urge for new energy storage

It will be crucial in the shift to a decarbonised economy

Photo: EP Claudia Gamon.

Lawmakers from the Committee of Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) proposed new approaches to increase storage and secure supply of energy from renewables, in a report they adopted during their videoconference meeting.

According to the rapporteur, Austrian MEP from Renew Europe Claudia Gamon, energy storage will be essential for the transition to a decarbonised economy based on renewable energy sources. As electricity generated by wind or solar energy will not always be available in the quantities needed, we will need to store energy, she underlined.

Outlining that apart from storage technologies that are already known and work well, like pumped hydro storage, the rapporteur stressed that a number of technologies will play a crucial role in the future, such as new battery technologies, thermal storage or green hydrogen. These must be given market access to ensure a constant energy supply for European citizens, she specified.

For reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the European energy system will need to become carbon-neutral by 2050. While renewable sources of energy are key to achieving this objective, they are not always reliable. The output of solar and wind power depends on the time of day, the seasons and the weather.

ITRE members urged the Commission and EU countries to remove regulatory barriers that impede the development of energy storage projects, mentioning double taxation or shortcomings in EU network codes. They emphasised that the Trans-European energy networks also need to be revised in order to improve eligibility criteria for those wishing to develop energy storage facilities.

Green hydrogen, produced from renewable sources, has a substantial potential, said members of the committee and called on the Commission to continue supporting research into and development of a hydrogen economy. They accented as well that support measures are needed to reduce the cost of green hydrogen as to make it economically viable. The EU executive should also consider if retrofitting gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen is possible, as the use of natural gas is only of a transitional nature.

MEPs backed the Commission's ambition to create European standards for batteries and to reduce dependence on their production outside of Europe. They insisted, through enhanced recycling schemes and by sourcing raw materials sustainably, possibly in the EU, on the reduction of EU's heavy dependence on importing raw materials from sources where extraction degrades the environment.

Ways to boost storage options, such as mechanical and thermal storage, as well as the development of decentralised storage through home batteries, domestic heat storage, vehicle-to-grid technology and smart home energy systems, were also highlighted.



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